There appears to be some degree of uncertainty about the accentuation of final demonstratives in the literature. According to Wells, “this, that, these and those tend to convey new information and attract the nucleus”. Carr, however, holds a different view, affirming that they “count as function words, so they do not take the tonic when the LLI rule applies”. Let’s compare a couple of examples given by them:
Of course the examples are not the same and five is a much more accentable word than some, but the fact remains that both authors don’t agree on this matter.
Judging from the examples collected for this work, it seems reasonable to assert that final demonstratives are quite likely to be deaccented on a great number of occasions. Actually, many times they could be substituted with the pronoun it with no change of meaning at all. Let’s consider this:
On the other hand, it also is true that final demonstratives can be accented for emphatic purposes.
Which possibility prevails it might be difficult to say for sure. The examples gathered here are sorted out in two different groups. In the first one, final demonstratives are deaccented. In the second, they bear the nucleus. Interestingly the former clearly outnumber the latter, and, for what is worth, I should say that the reason for this imbalance is that they were much easier to find.
- Final demonstratives deaccented
(309) I suppose so, I never really thought about that (Dennis Price; Berkshire, UK).
(310) Before I do that / there’s something I want to talk to you about (Frank Alberston; Fergus Falls, Minnesota, US).
- Final demonstratives accented
(311) I know that (john Nettleton; London, UK).
(312) Anthony is not like me. You can say that again (Hugh Laurie; Oxford, England).
(313) I’m sorry to hear that (Philip Loeb; New York, US).